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The Age-Saving Profile and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis

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Abstract

The life-cycle hypothesis posits that saving is positive for young households and negative for the retired, so that wealth should be hump-shaped. Yet, if one looks at the microeconomic evidence on saving by age, dissaving by the elderly is limited or absent. But the saving measures usually computed on cross-sections or panel data are based on a concept of income that does not take into account the presence of pension arrangements. In fact, disposable income treats pension contributions as taxes, and pension benefits as transfers. But since contributions entitle the payer to receive a pension after retirement, contributions should be regarded as life-cycle saving and hence included back to income. Similarly, pension benefits accruing to the retired do not represent income produced, but a drawing from the pension wealth accumulated up to retirement. We use Italian repeated cross-sectional data from 1984 to 1995 to show the importance of this adjustment for the evaluation of the saving behavior of the elderly.

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  • Tullio Jappelli & Franco Modigliani, 1998. "The Age-Saving Profile and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," CSEF Working Papers 09, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:09
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    1. Alessie, R.J.M. & Kapteyn, A. & Klijn, F.E., 1997. "Mandatory pensions and personal savings in The Netherlands," Other publications TiSEM dcff6ab7-1712-4830-bafe-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    6. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1991. "Why is Italy's Savings Rate So High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Paxson, Christina, 1996. "Saving and growth: Evidence from micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 255-288, February.
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    Keywords

    Saving; Wealth accumulation; Life-Cycle Hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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